Mayura Academy in Sydney has specialised in teaching Kuchipudi dance – one of the unique dance forms of India particularly popular in Andhra Pradesh – since 1990. It celebrated its Annual Day early this month at the Baha’i Centre, Silverwater where the students showcased their talent to the public.
Taking part were kids (some looked like they were in Primary School), young adults as well as adults. The kids merrily laid the steps to the beat and music – some of them observing the other dancers and hurriedly correcting their steps. Despite this, a smile on their face was not lacking. The not-so-young were eagerly singing as they danced, minding their step, of course, and putting conscious effort into their performance.
Most items were group performances, though there was a solo number as well. It was heartening to see the participation of a couple of young boys amidst the swarm of girls. Yet the one factor common across the entire range, was enthusiasm. The audience eagerly awaited their children or fried perform, encouraged and appreciated performer’s talent.
Dance, especially Indian dance, stresses on its two aspects – abstract (nritya) and concrete (abhinaya). Almost every item rendered mixed these very effectively. Manduka Shabdham, based on the popular story of Gajendra Moksha was enacted in a very pleasing manner and was abhinaya-intensive. At one point, there were three actions performed simultaneously. Dashavataram depicted the ten incarnations of Vishnu at a fast tempo. In particular, ‘Narasimha avathara’ where the half-man-half-lion Narsimha pierces the guts of the demon, it was roudra in action. Mahaganapathim by the mature students, was an intricate combo of abhinaya and jathis. The solo Bho Shiva Shambho by Meghna was a treat to watch.
Youngsters rendered Paluke Bagaramayana (in Ananda Bhairavi raga) which was a delight indeed. This was also true of Geetham in the same raga.
The recital had all the ingredients of a typical dance performance, starting with Vinayaka Kouthvam, Brahmanjali, Pushpanjali and continuing with Geetham, Tharangam, Jathiswaram and Thillana. All through, there was the rich vocal music with appropriate accompaniments, enhancing the appeal of the dance. Music was pre-recorded and had had Sangeetha Kala and Pasumarthi Seshu Babu rendering vocal, and Venkata Ramana, Kapa Srinivasa Rao giving Nattuvangam.
Dr Jyothi Marri was the chief guest.
The academy is the result of the untiring efforts of its illustrious founder Venkata Ramana. He deserves congratulations on his achievement. In addition, one should also praise the parents of these little kids who have determined to preserve this great form of dance, Kuchipudi.
Often times we feel as though Bollywood has drowned out our traditional dance and music. However, watching the students of the academy, we need to revise our opinion – our dance is safe in the hands of our youngsters.